Horwich Parish Primary School, Bolton, create an outdoor learning environment

A group of children pose with gardening implements

Parent Anne Nightingale explains how she used funding to help her children’s school transform a piece of land into a learning area.

I’ve worked closely with the Horwich Parish Primary School for four years. My little boy and girl go to the school and I am a parent governor as well as the chair of the Parent Teachers Association. My involvement means I’m always on the look out for ways to help the school.

One of the things we’ve always wanted to do is to make more use of our outdoor space – like many Victorian schools, we don’t have enough classroom or outdoor space for extra activities. When the Foundation Community Awards came up, I saw this as a chance to make our idea of creating an outdoor classroom and allotment a reality.

“Counting bugs in the outdoor space could form a Maths lesson and English lessons could be formed around learning plant names”

I knew creating an outdoor classroom would have a really positive impact on pupils. It would enhance their learning across the curriculum. Counting bugs in the outdoor space could form a Maths lesson, English lessons could be formed around learning and writing plant names, and the children could be taught about where food comes from first hand in Science lessons.

In addition, the allotment would allow the children to learn more about the great outdoors including how to grow fruit and vegetables from scratch. Horwich Parish are really active in promoting healthy eating, sport and the outdoors, and we wanted the school to play a big part in this.

As well as benefiting the school, I knew the project could also make a positive difference to the wider community. Many parents are struggling financially in these hard economic times so we thought the project could provide accessible fruit and vegetables, and show how growing your own food could save money and encourage a healthier diet.

“Fundraising can only go so far and a substantial amount like this can kick-start something amazing”

I’m so pleased that we were awarded the Community Award, it’s been a significant step in getting the project running. Fundraising can only go so far and a substantial amount like this can kick-start something amazing.

We’re spending the funding on a variety of things including a security fence, a storage container and other additional safety measures for the pupils. The children and the volunteer group recently began digging up the ground for the first phase of the project – everyone was so excited to get things going and really mucked in. That’s community spirit in action!